The short answer will always be yes! But, it is quite clear that there will be certain circumstances in 2021 that applicants have never faced before.

With the pandemic disrupting travel and international studies across the globe, there are many uncertainties for prospective students who are looking to commence their courses abroad in late-2020 or 2021. If you are unable to physically attend on-campus classes due to travel restrictions in your country, the good news is that many universities are working closely with their governments to set in place alternatives for prospective as well as current international students.

There are actually more opportunities that one can look forward to in the current situation. Pre-COVID, it was often a choice between staying in the workforce or taking time out of work to study for an MBA. Taking time off to study during a strong job market may not have been ideal for some. Now that many promotions have been halted and the job market is slower, one wouldn’t be sacrificing as much in deciding to pursue an MBA!

An MBA can help close potential skill gaps, some of which are becoming more prevalent in our rapidly changing world, especially with the changes caused by the pandemic. This is certainly prudent when it comes to digital transformation in business. And you will most likely be graduating when the market is predicted to begin to recover. So, now may be one of the best opportunities to strengthen a CV with an MBA, learn what the world of work will look like post-pandemic, and become one of the most equipped graduates in the new workforce.

Extra steps that you should take

As stated before, there are certain situations that did not exist before for MBA applicants. So, now is the best time to prepare ahead and stay safe.

  • It is essential for international MBA applicants from India to stay on top of COVID-related updates on international admissions, mode of learning and the travel restrictions. Identify your top choices in terms of business schools and their locations early, and be sure to stay updated.
  • Many top B-schools in Europe provide full time MBA courses that last only one year, as opposed to MBA degrees in the U.S. that are normally two years long. At some business schools or depending on the type of your MBA course, the program could last around 18 months. This may be profitable considering the COVID situation.
  • With so much of life having shifted to the internet for a full year, people are increasingly comfortable with the quality of online experiences. Consider what it was like to try to learn virtually 5-to-10 years ago versus now with the advent of Zoom. And consider the average person’s openness to communicating virtually 12 months ago versus now.
  • Another aspect to keep in mind is the summer internship that is a crucial part of MBA programs. Usually applicants start looking for potential opportunities when the time arrives. But, now you should probably plan ahead for the same. So, start your networking as early as possible and finding a good internship will not be an issue.
  • Anything you need for your MBA application, such as recommendation letters, extra curriculars, etc. should be figured out much before the application period. Since almost all communications are becoming virtual you don’t want to leave anything for the last moment anymore.

Where to study MBA in 2021?

There are many things to consider here. Sure, USA and Europe are the top 2 choices when it comes to International MBA. But, it’s no longer that simple!

In May of 2021, things are looking up in the US. People are vaccinated in increasingly large numbers, and the economy is reopening. So, USA might seem like the obvious choice. But, as per reports an MBA in USA might cost you more in 2021 as compared to Europe.

Have a look at the tables below to understand the average cost differences between top MBA programs in USA and Europe.

Program Name Duration Basic Tuition (Approx.)
Stanford University MBA 2 years $73,000/year
Harvard University MBA 2 years $73,400/year
University of Pennsylvania – Wharton, MBA 20 months $81,400/first year
University of Chicago –Booth, Full Time MBA 2 years $72,000/9 months
University of Chicago –Booth, Evening/Weekend MBA 2.5 – 3 years $7,200/course
Courses required to complete degree: 20 plus LEAD
MIT – Sloan, MBA 2 years $77,200
Columbia University, MBA 2 years $77,400/year
University of California – Berkeley Haas, MBA 2 years $64,700/year
Yale School of Management, MBA 2 years $72,400/year
Northwestern University – Kellogg, Two Year MBA 2 years $73,400/year
Northwestern University – Kellogg, One Year MBA 1 year $101,300
Dartmouth College – Tuck, MBA 2 years $75,100/year
B-school Tuition Fee Euro INR
INSEAD  89,900 73,32,253
HEC Paris 72,500 59,72,861
IE Business School  72,200 59,48,205
London Business School  100,000 88,178,18
SDA Bocconi 59,000 52,02,512

But, USA and Europe are not your only options. A country such as Singapore also has quite a few top B-schools, and is being considered as one of the best international MBA destination in 2021! Have a look at the details of the B-schools in Singapore that you can apply to:

Business School World Ranking Duration of MBA program Approx. Tuition Cost (USD)
National University of Singapore
#17 17 Months

INSEAD Singapore   #3 10 Months $97,000 
Nanyang Business School

#30 1 year $45,000
Singapore Management University-Lee Kong Chian School of Business   #43 1 year


Source: MBA Crystal Ball

Should you consider online MBA?

If your goal is to learn new hard skills, like accounting, finance, or marketing, there is not a large difference between an online MBA and a traditional MBA. What you learn in the University of Illinois’s iMBA and in its traditional MBA, for example, will be similar. But, certain activities such as learning about new careers or networking are better done in person. But even then, you can find MBA programs explicitly billed as ‘Hybrid’, such as the one offered by UCLA, to get a mixture of in-person and online instruction and engagement.

We are at a point in our society where online and in-person is blending and mixing. In that sense, now is the right time to jump into an online MBA. The only major gap between an online MBA relative to a traditional MBA relates to the internship between the first and second year that is offered by traditional full-time MBA programs in the United States. This is a powerful feature, particularly for those targeting to switch industries, such as investment banking or consulting.

Scholarships for International MBA in 2021

Top-tier universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and LBS are known for partially funding the tuition of 50% of every class at an average! And there have been no dip in their scholarship opportunities in the wake of the COVID pandemic. So, if you are applying at top-tier schools then always try for the scholarships!

If you are someone who is depending on a scholarship to fulfill their international MBA dreams, then take a look at this video for some key tips regarding how to land a good scholarship amount in top-tier MBA programs –

So, if you were worried about doing an MBA in 2021, definitely don’t be! If anything, a new age of opportunities is at hand, and having an international MBA degree from a top-tier business school will make you the perfect employee for the business bloom that is sure to come!

Related Resources:

From 2 Rejections to Top 10 US Admits with USD 1,90,000 Scholarships and a post MBA career in McKinsey Consulting US

How Siddharth joined his dream MBA program after rejection from lower-ranked schools

Improve your chances of cracking Oxford University’s Saïd Business School

What is the cost for studying MBA in the USA and how to manage it?

How to crack Harvard MBA? Work Experience Required for Harvard Business School?

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